latest headlines

A look back at presidential inaugurations: Past performers, attendance numbers

Published: Friday, January 20, 2017 @ 11:51 AM
Updated: Friday, January 20, 2017 @ 12:15 PM
By: Fiza Pirani - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Presidential inauguration ceremonies didn't always mean booking A-list celebrity performers and garnering over a million attendees. 

In fact, former president George W. Bush attracted an approximate total of 700,000 attendees for both of his swearing-in ceremonies combined.

» Donald Trump's inauguration: Here's a list of Democrats who are not attending 

Up to 900,000 people were expected to attend President-elect Donald Trump's swearing-in ceremony and inaugural parade on Friday, according to the D.C. Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Performers for Trump's inaugural ceremonies include "America’s Got Talent" finalist Jackie Evancho, American country music artist Lee Greenwood, rock group 3 Doors Down, singer Toby Keith, YouTube stars The Piano Guys, DJ Ravidrums, The Frontmen of Country and Jon Voight.

» Donald Trump's inauguration: What time, what channel, live-stream, schedule of events 

It's important to note that the exact number of attendees isn't so easy to count. For decades, the National Park Service provided official crowd estimates for gatherings on the National Mall, according to the Associated Press. But that changed after 1995. 

To come up with this compilation, we relied on news archives to give you the data.

So, how do Trump's attendance estimates and list of performers stack up against past presidential inaugurations?

Here’s a look back at the past 12:

Barack Obama, 2013

Attendance: Approximately 1 million attended Obama’s second inauguration, according to CNN.

Notable performers: Beyoncé and Kelly Clarkson

Barack Obama, 2009

Attendance: 1.8 million, according to CNN

Notable performers: U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, Aretha Franklin, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman

George W. Bush, 2005

Attendance: 400,000, according to the New York Times

Notable performers: Technical Sgt. Bradley Bennett, Denyce Graves, Susan Graham

George W. Bush, 2001

Attendance: 300,000, according to the New York Times

Notable performers: Staff Sgt. Alec T. Maly, Ricky Martin and Jessica Simpson

Bill Clinton, 1997

Attendance: "Hundreds of thousands" attended, according to the New York Times

Notable performers: Santita Jackson and the Resurrection Choir

Bill Clinton, 1992

Attendance: 250,000, according to the New York Times

Notable performers: Marilyn Horne

George H.W. Bush, 1989

Attendance: "Tens of thousands" attended, according to the New York Times

Notable performers: Staff Sgt. Alvy Powell

» Photos: George H. W. Bush through the years 

Ronald Reagan, 1985

Attendance: 140,000 attended, according to the New York Times

Notable performers: The U.S. Marine Band, Jesse Norman

» Photos: Remembering Ronald Reagan, 1911-2004 

Ronald Reagan, 1981

Attendance: 10,000, according to the New York Times

Notable performers: Juanita Booker (Frank Sinatra and Ethel Merman performed at balls)

Jimmy Carter, 1977

Attendance: More than 250,000 attended, according to New York Daily News 

Notable performers: Cantor Issac Goodfriend, U.S. Marine Band

» Photos: Jimmy Carter through the years 

Richard M. Nixon, 1973

Attendance: According to the New York Times, "thousands of persons" attended Nixon's second inauguration.

Notable performers: Ethel Ennis

President Richard M. Nixon, 1969

Attendance: 65,000 people attended, according to the Washington Post

Notable performers: Mormon Tabernacle Choir, U.S. Marine Band